Student Conduct

Parents

Welcome to the Office of Student Conduct! If you are navigating to this page, chances are you never thought that your son or daughter's Duke experience would include an interaction with our office. This part of our website is designed to help answer some of the questions you may have about our disciplinary process and give you information that can help you best support your son or daughter.

First, we recognize that our students (like all of us) make mistakes. Sometimes this involves the consumption of alcohol. Other times it may involve a rash decision made at a late hour while writing a term paper. The competitive environment at Duke, in which students want to excel both academically and personally (i.e., be socially accepted and liked by their peers) can sometimes lead to decisions and behaviors that students later regret. Through our disciplinary process, we hope to help students learn where they could have made different decisions and offer them strategies for making better choices should they face a given situation again.

The expectations (or policies) we have in place for our students flow from the philosophy of the Duke Community Standard, which is the university's honor code. As you know from your own experience, actions carry consequences. This is no different at Duke. When students are found responsible for violating a university policy, they may face a set of sanctions. This may include community service, disciplinary probation, reflection papers, and, sometimes, separation from Duke, either for a period of time (suspension) or permanently (expulsion). These are not consequences that we take lightly. We recognize that any sanction imposed upon a student is a burden. However, we also feel strongly that our process and sanctions play an important role in a student's education at Duke -- not just for here in the Duke community, but in life beyond Duke.

We encourage students to talk with their parents immediately upon finding themselves in a tough situation that may involve violation of a university policy. (For students who were engaged in high-risk drinking behavior, we require that students inform their parents about what happened and then ask their parents to follow up with us with a phone call.) We have found that students are often fearful to talk with their parents about their situation because of the reaction they think they will receive. While you will understandably be concerned about what may have happened, you will undoubtedly want to show support to your son or daughter. Listen to his or her perspective. Encourage him/her to accept responsibility for the role he or she played in a situation. And show that you still stand behind him or her.

A common reaction from parents is that their son or daughter could not have possibly engaged in the behavior of which they are accused. Or, at worst, the behavior of their son or daughter was unintentional and simply a mistake. We strive for a fair and thorough process in determining the extent to which a student was involved in a situation. Intent -- or lack thereof -- is most often considered not in a determination of responsibility, but in a determination of the sanctioning. We have high expectations for our students, and this includes seeking appropriate help when facing a difficult decision (for example, not turning in a paper and seeking an extension from an instructor versus making the decision to cut and paste from a source on the Internet).

So what if your son or daughter faces disciplinary action, including separation from the university? How does this impact his or her record or chances of gaining admission into a graduate/professional program? Parents have many questions about how disciplinary action may affect their child's future. See some of the suggested links on the right side of this page for helpful information.

What if you want to intervene on behalf of your son or daughter? Sometimes the best support you can provide -- and the most growth-enabling for your son or daughter -- is to support him or her while he/she works with university processes to resolve the situation at hand. Of course, we are happy to address questions or concerns you may have, but we encourage you to speak with your son or daughter to exchange information firsthand. Feel free to contact us via email or call us at 919-684-6938.

The university hopes that students will keep their parents informed of their lives at Duke. The Office of Student Conduct will not routinely contact parents when their son or daughter has violated university rules. However, parents of students under the age of 21 will be notified of alcohol-related disciplinary violations when a student's health or safety has been/is at risk (including when a student is granted "amnesty"). Parents may also be contacted by Trinity College or the Pratt School of Engineering if a student is suspended as a result of a disciplinary infraction.

Parental Notification of Student Disciplinary Action

The university hopes that students will keep their parents informed of their lives at Duke. The Office of Student Conduct will not routinely contact parents when their son or daughter has violated university rules. However, parents of students under the age of 21 will be notified of alcohol-related disciplinary violations when a student's health or safety has been/is at risk (including when a student is granted "amnesty"). Parents may also be contacted by Trinity College or the Pratt School of Engineering if a student is suspended as a result of a disciplinary infraction.